Written by Daniel Greenfield
Wars are fought with steel and of words. To fight a thing, we have to understand what we are fighting and why. A blindness in words can kill as effectively as blindness on the battlefield.
Words shape our world. In war, they define the nature of the conflict. That definition can bemisleading. Often it's expedient.
The real reasons for the last world war had very little to do with democracy. The current war does involve terrorism, but like fascism, it's incidental to the bigger picture. The United States would not have gone to war to ensure open elections in Germany. It hasn't been dragged into the dysfunctional politics and conflicts of the Muslim world because of terrorism.
Tyranny and terrorism just sum up what we find least appealing about our enemies. But it's not why they are our enemies. They are our enemies because of territorial expansionism. The Ummah, like the Third Reich, is seeking "breathing room" to leave behind its social and economic problems with a program of regional and eventually world conquest.
Islam, like Nazism, makes a lot of utopian problems and pays the check for them through conquest. Like Communism, we're up against a rigid ideology, brainwashed fanatics, utopian fantasies and ruthless tactics. And we can only win by being honest about that.
We are not yet dealing with armies. This is still an ideological conflict. Terrorism is just the tip of a much more dangerous iceberg. It's the explosion of violence by the most impatient and least judicious of our enemies.
What we are dealing with is Islamization. Islamization is the imposition of ideological norms in increasing severity. Like Nazification, it transforms a society by remaking it in its own image from the largest to the smallest of details.
Islamization begins with the hijacking of "secular" spaces transforming them from neutral into explicitly Islamic forms and functions. The process can be grandiose or petty. A group of Minnesota Muslim taxi drivers who refuse to transport passengers carrying alcohol are "Islamizing" part of the transportation system around that airport. They are imposing Islamic norms on the airport and the passengers. Similarly a Target cashier who refuses to scan pork is Islamizing her line.
Islamic organizations encourage this form of seemingly petty Islamization even while they angle for bigger things. Their followers are foot soldiers in the same political war that destroyed secular spaces in their home countries.
Small scale Islamization becomes large scale Islamization. The women who begin wearing Hijabs are imposing a new social norm that eventually leads to Burkas. By then, women no longer have the right to leave the house, either legally or in social norms. The outlawing of liquor or pork begins in the same way. It doesn't just happen in large ways, it also happens in small ways.
In Germany, the exchange of the greeting "Gruss Gott" for "Heil Hitler" was the bellwether of a larger social change underway. Nazification was not just a matter of Hitlerian speeches, it was in what you read, what you saw and how you said hello to your neighbors. A Nazi was not just someone who marched around in a uniform. It was also someone who said "Heil Hitler" or who in any way participated in the Nazification of public spaces.
Similarly an Islamist is anyone who participates in the Islamization of public spaces. The media has mischaracterized Islamist as a follower of some rogue branch of Islam followed by a tiny minority. But there is no rogue branch. Even Wahhabism is hardly rogue. If anything, it's simply more literal.
Islam is Islamist in that it "Islamizes" what it comes into contact with. Islamists are not a separate movement. They are Muslims following a legacy of intolerance by practicing Islamization.
Religion can exist on a personal level and a public level. Religion on a personal level can be accommodated in a public space so long as it does not change the nature of that public space. For example, a group of people can pray in a school cafeteria. Secularists may object, but their objection is groundless unless the praying people then announce that no one is allowed to do anything in the cafeteria except pray... and only in their approved way.
That is Islamization in a nutshell. It begins with accommodation and ends with theocracy.
When a Muslim imposes his religious identity on someone else, he is engaging in Islamization. That is the difference between Mark, the Mormon taxi driver who refuses to drink alcohol and Mohammed, the Muslim taxi driver who refuses to drive a passenger carrying alcohol.
Mark is practicing his religion in a public space. Mohammed is imposing his religion in a public space. Mark's religion can be accommodated because his choices extend to his own body. Mohammed's religion cannot be accommodated because it hijacks any public space that he exercises influence over by attempting to Islamize it. Islamization causes conflict, terrorism and war.
Every devout Muslim is an "Islamist". Islam is not a personal religion. It is a religion of the public space. A "moderate" Muslim would have to reject Islam as a religion of the public space, as theocracy, and that secularism would be a rejection of Islam.
Nothing in Islam exists apart from anything else. While liberals view culture and religion as a buffet that they can pick and choose from, it is a single integrated system. If you accept one part, you must accept the whole. Once you accept any aspect of Islam, you must accept its legal system and once you accept that, you must accept its governance and once you accept that, you lose your rights.
If it were not for Islamization, Islam might be personally objectionable, but not publicly objectionable. Some of its tenets might be disapproved of, its behavior in its home countries might be disagreeable, but it would not lead to a zero sum war in which Islamic expansionism leads to endless conflict.
Islam has been imported under the guise of multiculturalism, but it does not recognize the idea that there can be room for multiple religions and ways of doing things in the same space. While Muslims exploit multiculturalism, the outcome of injecting Islam into a system is an Islamic space in which alternatives are either eliminated or marginalized. Islam is not a multi anything. It is a single uni.
Islam does not integrate. It disintegrates. It's hazardous to any culture or political system that comes into contact with it. It colonizes public spaces and pushes out anything that is not it. Or as the arsonists of the Library of Alexandria said, "If it is in the Koran, it is redundant and ought to be burned. If it disagrees with the Koran, then it especially ought to be burned."
What goes for the Library of Alexandria, also goes for all knowledge, ideas, culture and thought. Islamization measures them all against the Koran and finds them either redundant or incompatible. Like a virus, Islam destroys anything that isn't it so it never has to compete against anything, because, as its societies demonstrate, it is not capable of competing.
Islam reproduces incestuously. inbreeding its ideology until it has copied it over itself so many times that there is no room for anything else. Wahhabism or anything that is associated with "extremism" is simply Islam copied over itself even more times. It's not extremism, it's simply undiluted. It is what happens when you take out as much as possible of everything that isn't Islam.
That is the objective of Islamization. It copies itself over until Hijabs become Burkas, until everyone is illiterate and killing each other over minor points of doctrine so their chief gang leader can become Emir. When it runs out of non-Islamic things to copy over and destroy, it copies over its own form, introducing errors, schisms, conflicts and religious wars.
The Islamist, like the virus, attempts to destroy what is non-Islamic to Islamize it. His tactics may be small, but his goals are big. And his success leads to a wasteland in which there is only the endless nothingness of Islam, a religion built on the endless conquests of Islamization, and which in the absence of external conflict must turn on itself.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century. He blogs at Sultan Knish